Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Creativity Queue Challenge

I'm great at starting projects.
Well known spaz that I am, I have a steady stream of good ideas and enough creative energy to try them all!

But finishing projects?
not so much.

Enter the ever-inspiring Tammy at Daisy Yellow.
She's challenging us to tackle one or more of the creative things we've started and haven't quite gotten around to finishing.  The challenge is going on for the next few weeks and she's encouraging everyone to tackle something in their queue and then link up at her site.

As one of the hosts of today's challenge, I have decided to tackle some of my PILES.
you know the ones.

These are partial piles. One is a pile of excellent mail art I've received.  The other is a pile of loose sketches and journal pages.  I "keep meaning to do something" with them.  Meanwhile the piles grow.

The mail art problem was solved with a tip from Diana Trout's blog and a rewards certificate from Staples.  I bought myself this cool gadget:
It's a fancy hole punch for the staples line of Arc system notebooks.  I have no use for the notebooks themselves, but with this hole punch and the cheap plastic discs that go with it, I can make my own little books in a flash.  Now I probably wouldn't have dropped the $40 if I hadn't just happened to have $40 in rewards certificates that were about to expire, but I'm glad I bought it because it's a great way to organize the beautiful little works of art I get in the mail.

Here's one of the books I made.
It's roughly 6"x12"

Here's a lovely little postcard from Corrine, inserted into the hole puncher:
And here's a great postcard from Jill with the holes already punched:

I admit I wince every time I punch into a  card, but ultimately I've decided that keeping them in these cool books means I will LOOK at them and enjoy them on a regular basis, instead of keeping them in piles and boxes where they don't get seen.  I'd rather have slightly damaged art that I enjoy than pristine art I never see.

Here's a shot of the funky little discs that serve as the binding - each black circle is an individual piece.  You pop them into the grooves made by the hole punch.  The come in different sizes and you can make your spine as long (or short) as the papers you're binding:

What I particularly like is that I can include cards of all different shapes and sizes.  
I can easily pop them out and put them back in and rearrange the pages.
Some cards can't be punched (like the ones made with fabric or wood), so I punch holes in an envelope and stick the card in that pocket - like this awesome one from Mad Madge
Now I've got two fabulous binders full of gorgeous mail art.

On to the next pile!
I'm not very particular with the materials I use to create.  When inspiration strikes, I grab what's nearby.  I end up with a lot of loose journal pages on cardstock, and sketches on all sorts of odd paper.  These are generally not master works.  I'm not going to hang them on the wall.  I'm not going to send them to anyone in the mail.  I may or may not scan them and blog about them.  But I want to keep them because they mark my journey and progress as an artist. So I glue them into various books.  Or at least I PLAN to glue them in.  Mostly I just pile them up on TOP of those books "for later".

So yesterday was "later" and I spent 20 minutes with scissors, a glue stick and double sided tape and my piles are gone!

Here are the two books I used.  The one of the left was a damaged library discard, but as a bird lover I adore that cover.  The one of the right is a large sketchbook with a collaged cover.
 The sketchbook is easy to fill.  Find a blank space anywhere in the book and slap things down with a glue stick.  

 The bird book required a wee bit more effort (but not much).
I didn't want to obscure the edges of my loose pages, so I use the "tip in" method to adhere them.

I cut out a page of the book, leaving about an inch sticking out from the binding:
I run some double sided tape along the back edge of the loose page.  I forget what this tape is called but it's awesome.  It was highly recommended in the altered book class on flutterbye.  I got it at Michael's in the scrapbooking section.  It looks red on the roll, but that red part peels off to reveal the sticky side.
Slide the paper with the exposed sticky side under the little flap
rub it down so it sticks.  Adhere another page in the same way to the back of this page
And there you have it, a bunch of new pages in this journal.

Big thanks to Tammy for inspiring me to finish these projects.
So, what's in your queue?
And what are you waiting for?

Head on over to Daisy Yellow to get inspired and share what you've accomplished.


  1. My solution has been the trash can!!! If I am not using something, I pitch it. Stuff that I can't get rid of, goes into drawers that I have organized referencing subject matter, color and the like. I like this binding idea. Might have to explore it a little after I move.

  2. WOWzer thanks for this wonderful post ..... I have the same problem and don't want to get rid of anything... ( think it is called hording ).... I really like this binding idea and going to check it out.... thanks again

  3. This is a fabulous post -- as usual! What a terrific little device to spiral-bind all those nifty postcards together! Love it. I am a do-it-fast kind of gal too. Take the money and run?

  4. Oh wow, you are my HERO! How brilliant is all this? Of course, my immediate impulse isn't to rush home and organize my hoarder's stash, but to head East and peruse your library of art goodness!
    xo Lis

  5. I covet that binder thingy. So, what are the benefits over a typical spiral binder (besides the way spiral binders tend to unspiral themselves right out of the holes, I guess)? Because your link says it's on sale and they'll send it right to my local store and hey, my husband's away and I'm just about getting thru the days thanks to the one kid who really, really requires at least two adults, and I need very little nudging to go buy myself something. I love your systems. They appeal to my organization-craving Virgo heart. (But you should see our studio area. Yikes!!)

  6. Love all your art work here.The fancy hole punch is so helpful, wish it wasn't that expensive.

  7. Glad that you like the card that I sent you!

  8. wow, love this little binding tool.....good use of your piles, I am sorting and sorting and about ready to send it all to recycling, at least all the papers that is....I am no longer going to collect. But now I know what to do with all my mail art. xox

  9. You're my hero. That's lots of organization goodness all in one post. I too had to figure out a way to save (and savor) my growing pile of postcards so for now I just have them on those rings like keyrings. It works for now.

    I've seen Tammy's nudge/push/kick to work on pending projects too but until I get over this bug, they're just going to sit there....sigh.

  10. I am so impressed by your fantastic organization techniques--thank you so much for sharing them with us! Tammy's challenge has been such an amazing kick in the pants hasn't it!? Keep up the great work!

  11. What a lot of specific helpful suggestions. I liked the taped in pages. I appreciate it when I can see all the steps in a process, because I'm not a very verbal learner. If you got this much done on this day, will you keep it up for the next new challenge days? I just have to remember it takes both big and little steps in many creative endeavors. Glad you got your computer back in time!

  12. love love that post, does that hole puncher thing have a name, I am really interested in getting one, but I need a nmae.

  13. You've been busy! Good for you! It always feels so good to get those projects off the list (and off your desk....hehe)!

    ....that Arc binder has me intrigued! And it's on sale?! Hmmm.....

  14. Ohohoh! I do like this so! I will do this with my goodness, too. Very soon, I hope. Brilliant ideas, both.

  15. Love this post, and what a great way to organize.
    Now there's another product on my wish list:)

  16. Whoa! SO many great ideas I don't know where to start. Thanks so much for your post. I love trimming your altered book pages 1 inch and adding your own pages. I NEED to do this in my own.

  17. Holy smokes - now THAT'S how ya do it! That is some serious knocking out of the piles. Bing-Bang-Boom. I salute you! Inspiring for me to tackle some piles of my own later in the 8 days of challenge, definitely!

  18. See, now I have to go buy one those thingy-ma-jigs!!! the hole punch one! Oh my gosh that's awesome! Ideas are whirlying round my little brain! Thank you so much for these fab ideas!!

  19. Love the idea of the binder for making your mail art into another work of art. Such a nice way to keep and view it. Must keep my eye out for my next rewards certificate. Thanks for sharing all the great ideas.

  20. How many great ideas and projects can one mere mortal come up with? Amazing - and so glad you liked my card and are keeping it in a cool place!

  21. oh, those piles (sigh) I have them too. Great idea to make books from your mail art! ingenious system, looks like it works great. I do like the different sized pages and that you can switch them around. Now, if only I could 'address' some of my piles!